A common approach to studying of tourism is to divide it into the broad areas of demand and supply, and then examine each separately. The demand-side is the market for tourism attractions and facilities. It includes the reasons why people choose to travel, and why they prefer some activities over others. Looking at it from a particular destination’s point of view, it is knowing who the client or market is for a place. The supply-side of tourism refers to the destination resources that are available for the tourist and recreationist.
Migration studies have long categorized the reasons for choosing to move from one place to another into push factors and pull factors. Push factors encourage an individual to leave a place (or to take a trip away from home), while pull factors affect where an individual goes after the desire to leave has been established. This is similar to tourism demand. A traveler is pulled to the amenities advertised for a given resort after a propensity toward travel has been established by push factors (such as stress at one’s work). This is similar to tourism supply.
There is no one approach or model that is widely accepted as the standard for assessing tourist motivation. This is due to the diverse combination of products and experiences that comprises the tourism industry, and the associated wide range of tourist interests and needs. Motivations and needs also change over time, such as over the course of a lifetime, from one trip to the next, and from one activity to the next on the same trip.
The desire to participate in tourism and recreation is strong and deeply rooted in the human psyche. For any one individual, however, motivations can vary considerably. How people participate in travel and tourism, in particular, is largely guided by social norms and the large socioeconomic context of the travel industry.